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No dominance of broadband service in Bahrain says TRA

Manama, November 12, 2013

No telecom operator in Bahrain has significant market power (SMP) or dominance in the supply of mass-market broadband services, according to an assessment by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA).

In a draft consultation on review of competition in the retail and wholesale markets for broadband services in Bahrain, the regulator added that it would be appropriate to remove current regulatory obligations from telecom provider Batelco in relation to these services, according to a report in the Gulf daily News, our sister publication.

However, TRA has concluded that in relation to higher-quality business broadband services, Batelco is still likely to have SMP at the retail level and dominance at the wholesale level.

TRA is therefore proposing to retain regulatory obligations on Batelco in order to promote the competitive supply of business broadband services in Bahrain.

The telecom watchdog said it last reviewed these markets in 2008 and 2009, when it found Batelco to dominate the broadband markets.

Since then, there have been a number of important market developments which have led to sustainable competitive alternatives emerging for "mass-market" broadband consumers, who are predominantly residential and small business consumers.

These consumers now have a range of suppliers available, including digital subscriber line (DSL), fixed wireless (WiMax), and mobile broadband operators.

As a result, Batelco's market share has fallen substantially, from in excess of 90 per cent of subscribers in 2008 to less than 30 per cent last year, the TRA said.

TRA general director Mohamed Bubashait said the draft determination showed that regulation in Bahrain remained targeted only in those areas where there was a lack of competition.

"In proposing to remove regulatory obligations in relation to mass-market broadband services, we are recognising that vigorous and sustainable competition has emerged which does not rely on regulated access.

"In recent years, we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of WiMax and mobile broadband services in Bahrain.

"In such circumstances, regulation is not required, as consumers are able to benefit from lower prices, innovative services, and higher quality as a result of competition between the network operators in Bahrain," he added. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bahrain | WiMAX | Batelco | TRA | Broadband service |

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